The National, Thursday, June 9th 2011
THE people of Bundi in Brahman, Madang, are frustrated at not having road access to their village.
“We have suffered for far too long and now we are ready to beat up one of the backhoe or dozer drivers if they don’t fix our road quickly,” Peter Bau, a Bundi village court officer and chairman of the disaster group in Brahman, said yesterday.
Bau and the 3,000 people of Bundi have been without any road access for the past seven years, forcing many cash crops, especially coffee, to go bad.
He said families faced a hard time as only a few walked miles to go to town, sell and return.
He said educational material and medicines were non-existent and just some of the worries they faced.
Last week he walked, carrying three bags of kaukau and two bags of peanut, to town to sell to pay for his four children’s school fees.
He said he had to spend more than K200 on transportation alone.
“From Brahman to Usema Bridge to Yakumbu junction, each bag on the dinghy and the truck to town cost K5,” he said.
“Dinghys charge K5 per person. From the junction to town is K12 each.
“We made two stops before eventually coming to town to sell our food.
“Now is coffee season and members from the 22 wards in Bundi have agreed to bet K5 each as compensation payment to those delaying fixing the Usema Bridge,” he added.
National Department of Works manager Walley Wigbert said the delay was caused by rains, which forced them to float heavy machines to Usino, Yamaji and then Brahman.
Wigbert said two diversions on the river bed had been made and he expected the bridge to be repaired in two weeks although he had initially opted to work on the Banu-Brahman stretch of road using the K1.1 million available.
The money came from the K1.8 million released by the provincial government.
Of the K1.8 million, K750,000 was paid out to two contractors that had done previous works.
However, Wigbert said the K1.1 million would only be sufficient to get the bridge up but not the road.